He Taught Us a Thing or Two, Pt.2

Part 2 : Adventure

Adventure: an unusual and exciting, typically hazardous, experience or activity. (Another definition: daring and exciting activity calling for enterprise and enthusiasm.)

Frank lived for adventure and every day was just that if you were with him. If you went riding in the woods with him, you’d better take food and water because you never knew how long you would be gone or what unusual or exciting activity you would experience.

Sometimes it was bland stuff like photographing some animal or insect in the wild, or getting stuck in a bog he tried to navigate with his four- wheel-drive truck.

Butterfly 5

Other times it was down right nail-biting.

One time we went for a ride in the woods on a weekend afternoon. He was home on R&R from his job in Saudi Arabia and wanted to see some Florida greenery. We had our oldest daughter with us. She was four years old at the time, and I was expecting our son.

In the woods

As usual, during our ride we talked about animal habitats and behavior patterns. I learned a lot. He liked catching the animals with his bare hands and looking them over before he let them go. If a sow pig crossed the road with her babies, he’d stop, catch one, scratch its little belly, and let us pet it before sending it back to its mama.

On this particular trip, though I was not aware of it until after the fact, he was looking for a particular animal. A friend of his had been having trouble with thieves stealing tools out of the back of his truck. He asked Frank for advice on an anti-theft device. Frank had the perfect solution and it slithered into the middle of the road that day right in front of our truck.

Frank stopped, got out, and walked circles around the 5 foot diamondback rattler. He broke a piece from a large dead limb nearby and used it to help him catch her. ( I am not sure how he knew it was a female, but he said, “she.”)

Photo credit: usg.edu
Photo credit: usg.edu

Once he caught her, one hand gripped just behind her head and the other supporting her large body, he told me to bring him the empty feed sack from the back of the truck. As I said before, I was expecting and our young daughter was in the seat with me. So I slid off the truck seat, shut the truck door behind me securely to keep her inside, got the feed sack, and threw it toward him. I didn’t want to be within twenty feet of that thing.

Frank looked at me oddly, as if to say “Why’d you do that?” He then held the snake toward me and said, “If I let her go now, she will bite me. Pick up the sack, hold it open, and I will put her in it. When I pull my hands out, close the sack.” He never broke a sweat, and spoke with confidence. His whole demeanor said,”I’m in control here.”

I did as instructed, and he took the bagged snake from me. Then I began to breathe again. I got back in the truck and my whole body turned to jelly. When he got in the truck, I told him the next time he did that, she could just bite him. He’d better never put me in that position again!

He laughed and  said I wasn’t adventurous enough.

I believe being married to him proved I was adventurous enough.

I knew that he knew a whole lot more than I did about animal behavior and … I learned to trust him. He got bit a few times by different types of animals, but nothing dangerous or poisonous. He gave respect when it was due.

He took the snake to his friend, who used it as a theft deterrent. I never heard if the thief lived.

I’m concerned life may be dull now.

How do I live, really live …

without you, Frank?

 

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